Salt CreekRaising the flag for the annual Wine and Martini Tasting event at Salt Creek Grille — a benefit for the Kortney Rose Foundation — are Lori Missig, Jennifer Egan, Rich Gillette, Ina Kichen, Pam Ruoff, Nancy Phillips, Kristen Gillette, Suzie Mazzei, and Salt Creek co-owner Steve Bidgood.

Press release from Culinary Communications

Each year, the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson hosts a Wine and Martini Tasting that ranks among the most popular annual events at the Rumson restaurant. Several wine vendors pour premium wines for attendees, and a spirits vendor serves up specialty martinis for the occasion, while the Salt Creek kitchen provides passed hors d’oeuvres, pasta, carving stations and more.

The tasting sessions also represent a fundraising vehicle that benefits a selected nonprofit organization — and over the course of 11 years, the event has raised over $730,000 for 11 locally based charities that serve children’s needs, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the charity, thanks to the generous support and donations of goods and services made by Salt Creek Grille and purveyors.

The 12th annual Wine and Martini Tasting will take place on Thursday, April 16 — with this year’s edition benefitting The Kortney Rose Foundation (KRF), an Oceanport-based nonprofit that helps to fund research and treatment for children who have been diagnosed with brain tumors. The foundation was established by Kortney’s mother, Kristen Gillette, to honor Kortney’s memory and celebrate her life — and more than 95 percent of every dollar donated to KRF goes directly to the life-saving research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, specifically their Large-Scale Genome Project and the new world-class Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium.

For the event scheduled to begin at 7 pm, Sickles Market will be providing a spread of artisanal cheeses, and The Lusty Lobster will serve up a raw bar of fresh seafood. The Bobby Boyd Trio will entertain with live jazz music, and a 50/50 raffle will also take place.

In addition to the event, and to create further public awareness, Salt Creek Grille co-owner Steve Bidgood flies a flag with the charity’s logo on it from the landmark restaurant’s flagpole at the base of the Oceanic Bridge year round. A presentation of the flag was made to Kristen and Rich Gillette and the KRF executive committee earlier in January.

“With only four percent of the National Cancer Institute’s research budget allocated to all forms of pediatric cancer research, children with devastating diseases have to rely on private foundations and generous individuals to fund the research that could save their lives,” said Kristen Gillette, who founded the 501(c)(3) organization in 2007. With more than 3,500 children diagnosed annually, brain tumors have been reported as the number one solid tumor cause of death in children 20 and under.

Gillette said that she is looking to this year’s Salt Creek Grille event to help to reach her goal of $1 million by June 2015, the date in which Kortney would have graduated from Shore Regional High School. The Kortney Rose Foundation has raised $910,000 to date.

Tickets for the April 16 Wine and Martini Tasting fundraiser are on sale now at $150 per person, with sponsorships also available. Take it here to purchase tickets or sign up as a sponsor — and for more information, please call (732)859-3629.